I am only just a few years down the path of my art journey still discovering what I like, what sparks my imagination, and what produces that sense of wonder within. I am constantly in search of that feeling of wonder. What is it? From where does it come? It’s that sense of having tapped into an energy or spirit not of this world. Where the veil is lifted momentarily and you step into the eternal. It is difficult to find the right words to describe these wondrous moments.
Perhaps artist and author Makoto Fujimura says it better in his book Art + Faith.
“In my studio, I make art. A theology toward the New1 amplifies how this human act is connected to the divine presence. Simply put, when we make, God shows up.”2
Many of those rare moments of wonder came when I began working with texture in painting and in mixed media. In my bio, I mention that I worked for several years with an art organization. Next door to their offices was a paper shop called, Paper Arts. I ventured into the shop one day and something very strange happened as I strolled through the aisles of handmade paper from all over the world.
Okay, I thought, this is weird, what’s happening? It was that lifting of the veil and stepping into wonder. It was an awakening that changed my life’s trajectory. I had never in my life felt so overwhelmed with wonder at what my eyes were seeing. It was a feast of creativity, inspiration, and excitement. I just had never seen anything like this before. Who knew that handmade paper shops was a thing?! Needless to say, in the years following I think I have single handedly kept the owners in business with my purchases of these beautiful papers.
More than the print designs, it was the various textures of many of the papers that excited me. So, when the lightbulb came on that my artist voice involved working with texture, these papers came into play. And, boy did I play.
Many of the papers were earthly in nature, made of natural fibers, tree bark, etc. I have always loved birds and am an avid bird watcher, so I was drawn to creating a bird’s nest. To the right you will see the papers I used in making the mixed media art piece entitled, Home. I believe most of these papers came from Paper Arts or Mulberry Paper.
This subject matter of home resonated with me at the time because I felt like I was finding my home in the making of art. I was beginning to find my voice and feeling “at home” or comfortable in the artistic space I was discovering. A sense of place or grounding in the realm of art was settling within me.
If you’re an artist- whether a writer, musician, painter, poet, dancer, whatever- I hope you have found your “home.” The space where you feel you belong, where you’re grounded and have freedom to experiment and play discovering new avenues of creativity. If you haven’t quite found your artistic “home” yet, keep playing, keep searching for those moments of wonder and make note of them. Write those moments on your phone, iPad or in your journal. Notice the patterns joy bubbling to the surface and keep coming back to that wonder. Be a seeker of wonder.
1. “If we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and has brought about the launch of the new creation; of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven, then our present vocations really do partake of that new creation, bringing fragments and flashes of new creation to birth in the midst of the still-darkened and sorrowing world.” N.T. Wright, Art + Faith by Makoto Fujimura (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2020), page ix (Forward).
2. Makoto Fujimura, Art + Faith, (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2020), page 29